Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Estherby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
There are twelve historical books in the Old Testament. The first three are Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, and the last three are Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. In between these two groups of three books, there are three pairs of books: 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. With this message we begin the life-study of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. The burden of the life-study of these books can be expressed in the following four statements:
1. In the eternal economy of God, the Father has allotted the Son, the all-inclusive Christ typified by the good land, to the believers as their eternal portion and has transferred them into Him that they may partake of Him (Col. 1:12; 1 Cor. 1:30, 9).
2. The enjoyment of Christ differs in degrees according to the believers’ pursuing of Christ and their faithfulness to Him, and the highest attainment of pursuing Christ is to reign with Christ in His divine life through His abounding grace (Phil. 3:13-14; Rom. 5:17b, 21b).
3. The captivity of the believers by the enemy is the top failure of the believers in the enjoyment of Christ by not knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection nor living by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:10; 1:19b).
4. The omnipresent and omnipotent Triune God became the hiding God in taking care of His chosen people in the dispersion of their captivity, in the most wise secrecy of His highest sovereignty (Esth. 1—10).
The Bible actually tells us only one thing—God’s eternal economy according to the good pleasure of His heart’s desire. Our God is exceedingly great, and surely He must have a good pleasure. Based upon His good pleasure He made an eternal economy. The reality, the center, and the goal of God’s economy is the all-inclusive and excellent Christ. The entire Bible is for this one thing, not for anything else.
The Bible is arranged in two sections. The first section, the Old Testament, is the section of pictures. God is surely the best writer, and He uses pictures in the first thirty-nine books of His writing in the Bible. These books are therefore full of pictures accompanied by prophecies. The pictures are the types, figures, and shadows in the Old Testament. For instance, Adam is “a type of Him who was to come” (Rom. 5:14). Some types are also prophecies. These prophecies are not in plain words but in pictures. The greatest type in the Old Testament is the history of the people of Israel, who typify God’s people on earth today. Thus, the history of Israel in the Old Testament is a big type signifying things to come.
When we come to the twelve books of history in the Old Testament, we should not be distracted by the history presented in these books. Why, then, should we pay attention to the books of history? To answer this question we need to realize that the entire Bible is for God’s economy with Christ as the reality, the center, and the goal. In our reading of the books of history, we need to pray and seek the proper interpretation of all the types and prophecies in these books. In particular, we need to find and know the intrinsic significance of all the types. We should focus our attention on the center of these types, which is Christ as the center of God’s economy. Therefore, as we are seeking to know the intrinsic significance of what is recorded in the books of history in the Old Testament, we must endeavor to link the history books to God’s economy. This is what we are doing in this life-study.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, 1 and 2 Chronicles were one book.
The writer of 1 and 2 Chronicles was probably Ezra. Regarding this matter, we should compare 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 with Ezra 1:1-3a. The repetition in these two portions might be a proof that 1 and 2 Chronicles were written by Ezra, the writer of the book of Ezra.
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